PDA President Liz Reid’s speech at International Day of People with Disability Event at Parliament House in Darwin

Thank you Minister Fyles, Minister for Disabilities and good evening everyone,

I would like to acknowledge that this function is being held on the land of the Larrakia People, and pay my respect to elders’ past, present and emerging.

I would like to acknowledge people with a disability and their families on International Day of People with a Disability.

The United Nations sanctioned the 3rd of December as a global day of observance 27 years ago – I like some of you in the room may even remember the first celebration and been part of the reforms and milestones ever since.

The day seeks to increase awareness and inclusion of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
This year’s theme, The future is accessible, this resonates for me personally and professionally.

My name is Liz Reid and I’m the Executive Officer for YouthWorX NT. For those who don’t know me I was born with a rare physical disability and remade from the waist down.

My education journey started at a special school; my parents back then were social inclusion pioneers, I was mainstreamed into the school in my local suburb, with the kids in my street.

I was immersed into everything the average kid would do and disability was never part of the equation. It hasn’t always been easy and requires careful planning and lots of creativity.

It wasn’t until last year that I fully embraced my disability and I became a self-managed NDIS participant – this has been huge for my family and I as I hadn’t been disabled enough for any supports before, a cost that we as a family just did because it was necessary.

The investment in Australians with a disability by governments through the NDIS, is the biggest social reform that can’t be underestimated regarding personal value and social worth. Yes, there have been pain points but it’s getting so much better and more to do. Fun fact – the NDIS conversation has been going on since 1975.

I’m fortunate to be able to blend my work with my passion for the disability community. Privilege to represent Territorians with a disability on local networks like the Darwin City Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee, national Disability Representative Organisations and the NDIA Independent Advisory Council, so our voices are heard, and they matter.

Professionally I’ve spent most of my career in education, training and employment with the view that everyone has got the ability to succeed and follow their aspiration and dreams.

For some how they get there might be a little different. I’m a big believer that we need to raise the awareness of people of all abilities and celebrate achievements with the wider community to think and act inclusively, in all aspects of life.

This year YouthWorX NT celebrated 21 years of proudly supporting Territorians to be the best they can be through a range of diverse programs. We have been actively involved with the NDIS since 2011 watching it develop, grow and to find the sweet spot for our organisation to meaningfully contribute to the lives of young people with a disability.

YouthWorX NT was recently awarded a grant from the NDIA’s Information, Linkages and Capacity Building fund to deliver Career Launchpad service. This service provides specialised career coaching and vocational support for young people with disabilities in mainstream school to the world work. The aim is for young people is to enhance in their personal, social and practical employability skills with the ultimate goal of sustainable employment.

Its beautiful the effect this program has on the young people, one young man, who was disengaging and at risk of leaving year 11, now after being part of Career Launchpad and having ongoing coaching sessions, has reengaged and now with the goal of focusing on school, finishing year 12 and a career in the aviation industry.
Career Launchpad has provided an opportunity for young people with a disability to participate in workshops such as Launchpad, vision boards and resume writing alongside young people from our other programs, all while building confidence. Young people don’t see difference, disability is not part of the equation.

I wish to recognise our program partners, Department of Education’s Transition from School Team. APM, NDIA and the skills and talent of the YouthWorX NT team, that believes – Connecting Territorians with opportunities to realise their dreams, goals and potential is paramount to live an ordinary life.

I would like to make a special mention and thanks to the YouthWorX NT Leadership Academy for attending. These young people have made commitment to be the youth voice of our service to represent all young Territorians on matters of diversity, and inclusion.

Thanks to all who everyday promote the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership in our community.


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